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SDSU Narrows Its List of Coaching Candidates

March 11, 1987|STEVE DOLAN | Times Staff Writer

San Diego State has narrowed its list of head basketball coaching candidates to "about half a dozen," Athletic Director Fred Miller said Tuesday.

Two candidates confirmed they had been interviewed: Paul Landreaux, El Camino Community College coach, and Scott Thompson, an Arizona assistant. Tim Grgurich, an assistant at Nevada Las Vegas, is expected to be interviewed when UNLV's participation in the NCAA tournament concludes.

Don Casey, a Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach who had a 151-94 record in nine years at Temple, has said he is interested in the SDSU job but has not been contacted.

Thompson, who interviewed with Miller nine days ago, has been offered the coaching job at Rice, according to reports in two Houston newspapers. It is uncertain whether he has accepted.

Miller said SDSU is hoping to name a coach within two weeks. However, the Aztecs may have to wait until later if the coach they choose is involved in the NCAA tournament.

"We're putting pressure on ourselves for the date," Miller said. "The sooner we name an individual, the better it will be for recruiting. We're between a rock and a hard place. We want the best we can get. If that individual is in the tournament, the longer he's in, the less recruiting time he would have at San Diego State."

The coaching position came open when Smokey Gaines announced his resignation last month, effective at the season's end. Gaines had an eight-year record of 112-117 at SDSU.

Miller said the Aztecs are looking for three qualities in a new coach: ability to recruit quality players "on the floor and in the classroom," technical competency concerning basketball, and marketing skills.

According to sources at SDSU and other universities, possible candidates include:

Boyd Grant, former Fresno State coach. He was 194-74 in nine seasons at Fresno State before he resigned after the 1985-86 season. Previously, he was 94-6 in three years at College of Southern Idaho and won the national community college championship once. He served as a fund-raiser at Fresno State through Jan. 1 to fulfill his contract.

Grgurich. He was 71-70 in five seasons as Pittsburgh's head coach before he was fired in 1980. He has been an assistant at UNLV the past seven seasons. UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian, who coached at Cal State Long Beach when Miller was the athletic director there, has recommended Grgurich to Miller.

Jim Harrick, Pepperdine coach. A long shot. He was considered hot property after he recorded his seventh straight winning season in 1985-86. But Pepperdine was 12-18 this season, giving Harrick an eight-year record of 150-84. SDSU sources said if Harrick is willing to listen, the Aztecs may be willing to talk.

Landreaux. He has an eight-year record of 245-50 at El Camino and has been been named Metro Conference coach of the year five times. He has won two state championships at El Camino. His cousin Ken plays center field for the Dodgers.

Neil McCarthy, New Mexico State coach. He has a two-year record of 33-27 at New Mexico State. In 10 previous seasons at Weber State, he was 200-98.

Thompson. He was an assistant for four years at Notre Dame and three years at Iowa before he joined Arizona's staff four seasons ago. He has coached the last seven seasons under Lute Olson, who was his collegiate coach at Iowa.

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